Images of great destruction are common in dreams. These scenes often recall the tarot card of “The Tower.” What once stood tall and sturdy is laid waste in a scene of destruction and chaos. Dreams such as these can be tremendously frightening. Other times, we are able to see that they also picture an opportunity for renewal.
Following is the transcript of the dream discussed in Episode 226 — Hermes: Divine Trickster.
This dreamer is a 33 year old woman who is a writer and a podcaster. Here is her dream.
“I’m on a piece of inhabited land, by the shore, with many others in a beach town. Some of the people I know, some I do not. Across the water is an island. It looks like Devil’s Tower in Wyoming (the one in Close Encounters of the Third Kind), but this island is lush, tropical, and Jurassic. It’s a beautiful day, close to sunset, and the view is gorgeous. All of the sudden, we all realize there are three enormous boats that look like cruise ships balancing on the edge of the top of the island. They’re huge, a third of the height of the island. One looks old, two look new. No one knows how they got there. There is a theory they went ashore when the water level was higher, but we all know that doesn’t make much sense… we would have seen them there long ago, but in this case, they just appeared, seemingly out of nowhere. We all realize they’re about to fall as they’re balanced precariously. As we anticipate an enormous crash, we take shelter. I can see them fall slowly off the top of the island to the base. There is a lot of destruction – so much dust and debris, and the sky gets very hazy. But I am safe. The next morning, we wake up, and it’s a beautiful day. The shape of the island across the water is totally different. It’s been totally reconstructed by the crash of the boats (which are no longer visible). The island looks a lot less ominous in shape. I look to my left and see that some of the debris from the island has landed in the water, which allowed for a bike path to be built from our land to the island, across the water. I realize perhaps this crash has actually improved things for the better, and everything feels calm and beautiful.”
For context, she says, “I’ve been traveling abroad for a year, and I’m going home to the US in a couple of weeks. I don’t have a home there per se but intend to stay put for a while as I feel tired. I feel mixed things about going back there. I’ve learned a lot about myself and the world in the past year, and some of the growth has been challenging.”
The main feelings in the dream were: she felt relatively calm. “I knew so much was happening — big things, but I knew I’d be safe. I was very interested and curious about what the island would look like after the destruction.” To describe some of her associations with significant dream elements, she says “I only have an association with the shape of that island because it looked like Devil’s Tower. I’ve always wanted to go there and really related to the experience of the main character who was channeling information about the future he didn’t quite understand. Being drawn to a place he’d never been, but knowing he needed to go because something important was going to happen.” She’s referring to Close Encounters of the Third Kind in that character in the dream. So, Joseph, what do we make of this dream? Like a short story, for one thing.
I was gonna say there’s a lot going on! I found myself wanting to group it into three sections. One is just describing this beautiful place. The next is the three ships, discovering them, watching them crash. The third is this reconstructive process. So, there’s a bit of a solve et coagula process. And, I’m also struck that the dreamer herself is living a mercurial or hermetic life in as much as she’s been traveling abroad for a year, which is very much like Hermes, just winging around. And people who travel well are able to move lightly through multiple circumstances. They don’t seem overwhelmed by coping with various languages and amenities. And in all these things that there’s a hermetic element. Things a child of Hermes can do really well.
So, what do we know about the psychic situation as it is? The dream setting takes on particular value that she’s on a piece of inhabited land, so that is stable. But it’s by the shore, which is that liminal space between land and sea, with many others in a beach town. Across the water is this island that looks like Devil’s Tower in Wyoming from the movie Close Encounters, and it’s lush, tropical Jurassic, beautiful day, close to sunset, view is gorgeous. So, there’s the dream setting, and interestingly, in her comments, this image of Devil’s Tower is both, you know, I remember vaguely, at least from the movie, you know how awful and barren and dark and weird it was and yet there was such a psychic pull to go toward that particular piece of land. So, her Devil’s Tower seems to be set in a tropical environment.
I’m taking a moment to look up some images of Devil’s Tower–really appreciating it. And I actually remember that I had glanced at this before! I spent time in Jackson Hole, Wyoming so I have a visual sense of it.
But you know, I also think there’s a clue in her association to Close Encounters.
The mountaintop where magical things happen.
Right, and where is the close encounter transpiring in her, in the dream, and it seems basically benign. The island is lush, tropical, and Jurassic, so it’s maybe a little sort of primordial.
I’m also thinking…what was the name of the mountain Noah’s ship landed on after the flood receded?
Mount Ararat, which is reputed to be in Armenia. The Armenians take great pride in Noah’s Ark having landed there.
When I held that image of enormous boats teetering on a mountaintop, I was thinking, oh, that’s just like Noah, right? And something extraordinary would have had to happen for a boat to get to the top of a mountain like that. It creates this fantasy of a flood that has receded.
And yet, it is such a bizarre image these cruise ships; I had not seen one up close until a few years ago. They are the size of apartment buildings. They are enormous and so here are three of these absolutely enormous ships kind of teetering at the top of the island, and I’m thinking about cruise ships, where we go for pleasure, for vacation, and they have all kinds. You can go into pools and entertainment and all kinds of restaurants, and I guess the list of pleasurable amenities goes on and on, and so it seems like something associated with that is what has run aground and is about to crash.
Right! It’s not sustainable for whatever this represents just to be teetering in this dangerous situation.
You can’t cruise endlessly through life.
Right, and it’s also misplaced. I mean, enormous cruise ships shouldn’t be on top of a mountain. There’s no way that that’s going to work out well. But it does beg the question of what the psychic situation is trying to speak to. So, something is misplaced, and the psyche is making the correction. Which is that cruise ships can’t live teetering on tops of mountains. And gravity itself, the most primal reality principle, is going to amend this and pull these things back down. You know, in the dream world, maybe they’ll slide back into the ocean because miraculous things can happen. But I think that there’s no reason for them to continue, you know, spinning around like tops on the mountain.
So here’s the encounter, here’s the close encounter. The encounter is that they are falling off there, and the dream ego says, oh my gosh, it’s gonna be a crash. So, much dust and debris, a lot of destruction. Sky gets hazy, sure, from all the dust. But then when they wake up in the morning, look what’s happened? It has changed the shape of the island. It’s been totally reconstructed and it looks a lot less ominous. It has allowed a link — a bike path to be built from the shore to the island. So, something that was cut off by water, something that was separated, has now been connected, and the crash has improved things, she says; everything feels calm and beautiful. So, it seems like the dream starts out with this island cut-off. So, as both appealing and kind of forbidding.
And looking at those images of Devil’s Tower, I mean nobody would want to get stuck on the top of such an enormously inhospitable place.
It seems like such a polarity that this island is lush and tropical, and it has this fearsome Devil’s Tower in it, and then when the crash happens of the cruise ships — that when something in the psyche that is represented by cruise ships crashes — that is the transformative agent, and she says they fall to the base. Something really momentous has happened in this dream of reshaping this island and connecting it to the mainland, at the same time that she’s about to come back home to the US and stay put for a while.
So, a fantasy that the dream is stirring in me is to move around the idea of Noah’s Ark and Mount Ararat and that whole kind of story. I think this psyche has undergone an enormous flood, a cleansing flood of some kind, and the flood has receded, but the process still hasn’t finished. The Ark is much like a huge cruise liner. I think it’s an image of the mother complex, these enormous, contained communities. There’s a way in which people are resting in the womb of these ships and gestating and sustaining life in an inhospitable flood. So, the flood has receded, but there are still vestigial complexes teetering around. Which I think are the last bit of the mother complex. As the dreamer is going through a transition, and she’s willing to kind of settle down for a little while someplace, it seems like the old version of the mother complex has finally finished. Its usefulness has finally toppled from the mountain. It’s crashed down with the loss of the fantasy of being taken care of. Which I think is very much like being on a cruise ship where a lot of people are just treated like big babies, constantly.
Indulgent mother. Anything you want, honey.
Exactly. So, it’s kind of crashed off the mountain. She wants to say safe around it, but she also doesn’t seem invested in trying to prop it up. She’s not even going to try to intercede, and now that it’s crashed down, her life can be redesigned in different ways. A calm beauty is able to manifest because the last bit of the fantasy of constantly being cared for has crashed. Nature has taken it away. Gravity.
Yep, that feels right to me, and I’m thinking about a couple of different things. One is the difference between the calm sort of the beautiful setting at the outset of the dream that nevertheless has an island that it has Devil’s Tower in it and also it’s Jurassic, so you know, how good could this really be. And at the end of the dream it’s simply calm and beautiful, and the other is kind of literally a fall in the dream from a kind of grandiose cruise ship images of three of them and that’s how you get around in the world is on a cruise ship versus a bike path. Isn’t that nice? A bike path has been built, and you can bike over and back, which is a much more grounded human, physical, ordinary mode of transportation.
And it’s powered by her. I mean, when you’re on a cruise ship, whatever is powering it is very far away from you as a passenger. When you’re on a bicycle, the pistons of your legs are gonna get you wherever it is you decide to go. So, it’s more intimate, more homey, more grounded…
More autonomous, more about her own energy, and then that improves things. It makes things better. I think it’s a really propitious dream. I think this person is in a really good process.
I want to say welcome home.